An inexpensive, simple video camera that sits on top of or next to your computer monitor, it is designed to send live and recorded video as well as still pictures over the Net to one or more users. It can also be a digital camera placed somewhere, anywhere, in the world, streaming video to a Web site (or other portable device) so that users can see live footage of certain events. The "cam" suffix can be applied to many words to describe specialized cameras, such as "a nannycam," which is used inside a home to monitor a babysitter's activities.
Historical perspective: In 2013, The Washington Post reported that the FBI can secretly activate any computer’s webcam and view a room without turning on the indicator light! According to a former top official of the agency, that tactic has been used mostly in terrorism cases and “serious” criminal cases, said former FBI official Marcus Thomas.